Were 4 Iranian tankers of fuel oil bound for VZ seized by the US?
Prop or Not? You decide. The story is everywhere, mainly reporting it like this:
‘DOJ confirms ‘largest-ever US seizure of Iranian fuel’ on 4 ships bound for Venezuela’, 14 Aug, 2020
“The US has seized some 1.116 mn barrels of Iranian fuel aboard 4 ships headed for Venezuela, the Justice Department has confirmed, hinting at “assistance” from “foreign partners” and declining to reveal where the grab took place.
The agency hailed what it called the largest-ever US seizure of Iranian fuel in a statement on Friday, revealing Washington had nabbed the sanctions-skirting cargo en route to Venezuela with the assistance of unspecified “foreign partners.”
The statement appeared to confirm a Wall Street Journal report, citing anonymous government and shipping sources, that claimed four tankers loaded with Iranian fuel had recently seen their cargo confiscated “without the use of military force.” The vessels were said to be re-routed to Houston, Texas, where they will reportedly be met by senior Trump administration officials.
Washington’s high-seas score stems from a July court complaint demanding the four tankers in question “forfeit all petroleum-product cargo” due to its having been shipped by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to the statement. The US designated the IRGC a terrorist organization last year at the behest of Israel as it ramped up its “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran.”
The press release from the DoJ adds photos of the ships the Bella, the Bering, the Pandi, and the Luna, and adds this (to me) odd-bodkkins paragraph:
“HSI’s Colorado Springs [Bingling kicks up a Homeland Security Investigations C Springs] and FBI’s Minneapolis field office are investigating the case. The case is being handled by the National Security Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Assistant U.S Attorneys Zia M. Faruqui, Brian Hudak, and Stuart Allen, and National Security Division Trial Attorney David Lim are litigating the case, with assistance from Paralegal Specialists Elizabeth Swienc and Legal Assistant Jessica McCormick.”
Oddly, Sputnik News didn’t cover it, nor did Telesur English or the Orinoco Tribune. South Front covered it straight from the WSJ’s and DoJ’s mouths. Iranian FM Javad Zarif on Twitter had zip about it, mainly his 5-part lecture series of ‘A world in transition’ in Tehran, and solidarity with Lebanon.
You’ll likely remember that Iran had successfully sent 5 ships of fuel to VZ in May and June, and amid all the bellicose threats from Pompeo and Co., they docked at a refinery in VZ over 4 days apart.
If this is all psychological warfare, is it due to Iran having executed the spy who’d helped locate IRGC Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, turned over his intel to Mossad and the CIA, and who was subsequently assassinated in a US airstrike at Baghdad airport on January 3?
‘Exclusive: Report of US seizure of Iranian fuel cargoes false’, Friday, 14 August 2020, presstv.com
“The informed source explained on Friday that the fuel shipments in question had already been purchased and paid for and that neither the vessels carrying them nor the shipments themselves were related to Iran.”
The photo the WSJ had added to their ‘News’; (I can’t read the ship’s name):
US seizes Iranian fuel cargoes for first time: WSJ
My apologies in advance if I'm delayed getting back. This took far more time than I'd hoped it would, and my RL chores have seriously backed up.